I still can't believe this happened!
Being invited to New York to meet the girls I have bonded with and become friends with online and to also meet the people behind the brand I love so much was an absolute dream! Literally, it started with a dream.
Let me back up for a second. More than a year ago, a group of us girls were always commenting on each others pictures on Instagram and also had a shared love of Essie. Hannah and Crystal sent us all a private DM and said, Hey! Why don't we all do a monthly collab together?! We all love Essie, so we could pick a colour and then each one of us would contribute a picture of our nails wearing our favourite polish from that category. And that's how the #essieclubcollab was born! We talk in our private DM thread every single day, and back in January, Laurie said she had a dream that we were all invited to an Essie event and got to meet each other in person! We were all commenting how amazing and incredible that would be, but in my head I was like "well that would never happen". Then sometime in late March, Laurie messaged us all and said "guys...remember that dream I had? You need to go check your emails." And sure enough, we all had an email from the executives at Essie inviting us to come to New York to meet each other! I was shaking I was so excited. There's 14 of us in the group and we are so spread out all over the world: UK, Netherlands, Norway, U.S...even us Canadian girls are super far away from each other! I never thought we'd meet in person.
I flew to New York last Wednesday and as I sat on the shuttle to the Grand Hyatt, my stomach was a ball of nerves and excitement. We all continued to message like crazy in our private DM, letting each other know if we were on our way to the hotel or already there. I walked into my hotel room and actually cried seeing the beautiful room and the gifts Essie had left for us on the table. It was all just so personal. Cookies that said #essieclubcollab?! Are you kidding me? It was all so perfect.
We knew we were all meeting downstairs in one of the restaurants at 7pm. There was also talk that our meeting might be filmed. We started messaging each other "should we all meet in person before going down stairs?" I know I was feeling super emotional and wanted to let it all hang out if need be. We all said YES! We were sent the room number for Kristina where everyone was going to meet. Sooooo many butterflies as I walked down the hall. I knocked on the door and as it opened all I heard was a flurry of screaming and crying and I started hugging everyone. It was the BEST meeting everyone for the first time! As the clock neared closer to 7pm, we all started making our way down the lobby. That's when someone saw the snap from Essie that said "girls from all over the world have become friends because of Essie. Tonight they will meet for the very first time...."
If you watched that snap, I'm sorry it was so disappointing and awkward!! Haha! We all filed in at the same time and no one hugged or screamed or anything. We had already done that upstairs in Kristina's hotel room and now didn't know what to do with ourselves, so we awkwardly walked in, nervous to meet the people from Essie!
I got some messages asking if the people at Essie are nice and I have to say, unequivocally, YES! They were all so super nice and welcoming. That first night feels like a blur of new faces, sweet compliments and the odd appetizer, even though I had been STARVING right up until getting there. Suddenly, I just found myself constantly talking with people and being so excited I couldn't eat.
The next morning started bright and early! We all got on a shuttle that took us out to the L'Oreal Labs. It was quite a long drive, so it gave us the perfect opportunity to talk and get to know each other better.
We arrived at L'Oreal and they had all these personalized lab coats, notebooks and safety glasses waiting for us! What a dream it was to actually go into the lab and see where all the Essie magic happens.
They also blew our minds and told us we could create our own shades! (post HERE) It was so much harder to mix our own colours than we thought it would be. Some girls were really sucked in by all the pretty glitters and shimmers (of course!), but then ruined their polish because the colour was too opaque and the glitter made it gritty. I had the hardest time mixing up the perfect mauve. So hard to make the perfect polish. In the end, I love the colours I ended up with! I also loved the colours the other girls made and wanted to take home a bottle of every single one of them. (For those that have asked, unfortunately, these polishes aren't for sale and will not be sold as an Essie Club Collab collection. That would be so cool if it happened though!)
After lunch, we were taken to the L'Oreal offices in Hudson Yards. Oh my goodness...the view!
|Photo by: @essiebuff|
There were so many cool things waiting for us here and so many personal touches, like finding our seat to sit down by looking for our favourite Essie shade (they had each persons favourite shade waiting for them). Julie Kandalec had spent the day with us (I wanted a bottle of both shades she created in the lab soooo bad!) and then she schooled us in some "Essie University". They also showed us the upcoming collections for this year and I'm serious you guys...you are going to freak out. They are so good!
We capped off our first day with the yummiest Mexican food at Fonda. Seriously, it was so delicious!
I could've just kept eating their guacamole and chips while sipping on my Essie Frozen Fiesta. It was such a full day.
The next morning started bright and early again, but this time it was on the rooftop of the Hyatt for some amazing photo ops! I have so many more pictures from up here, including selfies with each girl, but I had to pick just a few. I'm sure this post is picture overload already.
From there we went to an incredible penthouse in Manhattan. I hope you saw the video of it that I posted on Instastory when I showed you around! I really didn't get any pictures inside there (I'm kicking myself about that now) just that video tour I did. While there, we got to paint our nails with gel couture, the core collection and the upcoming summer collection and take pictures with a professional photographer. Some girls swatched colours and some did nail art. I'm running out of words to describe our experiences besides "amazing", "dream" and "blew my mind, but yes, it was all those things! My friend screen shot this picture from @essiepolish's snapchat from that day and I was glad she did.
This whole day was the most chill and relaxed and it was so nice to just sit and paint our nails and visit with one another. That's what I do with my girlfriends back home, so to get to paint our nails together in person with my ECC girls was amazing. Also, hanging out with and painting nails with @missladyfinger! OMG. It was just such a perfect day.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, in walked Rebecca Minkoff!
She was so sweet and cool. I loved her whole outfit. We got to chat with her about her inspirations for designing the seasonal collections and she asked us what colours we'd like to see! Of course we all said pale yellow. Hopefully that's a shade we will see from Essie in the future.
Next we got to head to Rebecca's beautiful store on Prince Street.
There was champagne waiting for us as we shopped as well as a special discount.
Even more special? All of us girls who bought bags, got them monogrammed...
Dinner was all toasts and tears and savouring every last moment we had with everyone together. I couldn't believe how close we had gotten in only two days and especially how we had actually become friends with Taryn and Anna. They were not at all stuffy, standoffish execs from a big company, but REAL, GENUINE, and beautiful people. They made this trip so incredible for all of us and we couldn't thank them enough.
By the time we were all back from dinner it was almost midnight, but we didn't want the fun to stop! We were just blocks away from Times Square so we had to go out together.
Our group was already down one (Lauren wasn't with us). Between midnight and noon the next day, our group got smaller and smaller. It was so sad! There were new tears all over again as each girl left to go to the airport. By the time it was my turn around 12:30pm on Saturday, I hugged all the girls and ran to catch my shuttle to the airport. I tried so hard not to, but I sat alone and cried on the bus to the airport! It felt like a large piece of my heart was left behind in New York.
This whole experience was so much greater than the sum of it's parts. I know I laid out "we did this, then this" but this trip was so much more than that. Our friendship that we built online came to life! And it's ten times stronger and deeper now. When I think of this trip, it all just seems so magical. All of us cannot thank Essie enough for bringing us together for this experience and we will forever be grateful.
Of course, this is just the beginning for us! We are still DM'ing and texting non-stop! And we started our own instagram page @essieclubcollab. If you are on Instagram, come follow us and say hi. We want to include more people in our collabs and will be doing features and things like that. So use our hashtag and your photo could be featured!
Again, thank you Essie for this Essie Lovers experience of a lifetime!
*Note: We all paid for our own airfare to New York, but Essie provided accommodations, food and transportation in New York. Everything I've written here are my absolute true and honest and opinions. #essiepartner